As the Winter Meetings approach, here’s what we’ll be keeping an eye on around baseball today:
1. The top of the starting pitching market
Justin Verlander, Jacob deGrom and Carlos Rodon sit atop the free agent list for starting pitching this winter. A combination of injury history and age makes the contract for each tricky to predict, but we are seeing markets emerge for each. It was revealed yesterday that the Rays had been in touch with deGrom, joining the Yankees, Mets and Rangers as teams with confirmed interest. Rodon had a Zoom meeting with the Mets yesterday, and the Dodgers, Twins, Yankees, Rangers and Giants have all shown interest in the lefty this winter. Verlander is coming off a Cy Young-winning season and has been linked to the Dodgers, Mets and Yankees, as well as a return to Houston. As teams meet with these players, it might not be long before things ramp up and given the similar teams being linked to each option, once one name comes off the board the others might follow quickly.
2. Which players might come off the board before the Winter Meetings begin?
The Winter Meetings will kick off Sunday in San Diego for the first time since 2019, and the widespread expectation is that they’ll spur some action both on the free agent and trade markets (as is commonplace). That said, a handful of recognizable names could come off the board even before Sunday evening. WEEI’s Rob Bradford reported this week that former Red Sox hurlers Nathan Eovaldi and Matt Strahm have strong enough markets that a deal could materialize this week. Meanwhile, the Pirates have had talks with Kyle Gibson, The Athletic’s Rob Biertempfel reported, and his market has been “heating up,” per Jon Heyman of the New York Post. Gibson’s free agency wrapped up quickly last time he was on the market, when he signed just before Thanksgiving, so it stands to reason that he could be keen on another short stay on the market rather than a drawn-out process. Meanwhile, the Pirates have already signed Carlos Santana, acquired Ji-Man Choi and traded Kevin Newman, so they’ve shown a willingness to make some early deals themselves.
3. Chat with Anthony Franco today at 5pm CT
With the Winter Meetings just around the corner and the bulk of the market’s most notable free agents and trade targets yet to find new homes, many of the biggest storylines of the offseason have yet to truly unfold. There’s plenty to talk about, and MLBTR’s Anthony Franco will host a live chat taking your questions at 5pm CT. You can leave a question here in advance, and be sure to use this link to join and participate live if you’re able!